Corneal Ulcer


It’s an infection and inflammation of the first lens of the eye (cornea), which commonly develops from trauma or improper use of contact lenses.

Inflammations of the cornea are very painful and put the person’s vision at risk.

The cornea is a clear, transparent, avascular lens composed of collagen that is located on the outside of the eye. It is almost circular in shape, with a thickness of approximately 1 mm and is composed of 5 layers: Epithelium, Bowman’s membrane, stroma, Descemet’s membrane and endothelium.


  • Intense pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Tearing
  • Purulent discharge
  • Redness
  • Dirty feeling
  • A white dot in the eye

If the ulcer is small or superficial, it disappears faster after a few days. The affected portion is lightened and the process of cellular repair and healing begins. When the ulcer is very superficial, the cornea can be perfectly transparent.

When the ulcer is deeper and more extensive, the tissues are severely affected and there is a higher risk of complications and sequelae that can affect vision.

Risk factor’s:

  • Contact lenses
  • Blow or foreign body perforation
  • Herpes zoster
  • Dry Eye
  • People using steroid eye drops
  • Chemical burn

Ulcers appear due to different types of infections.

  • Bacterial: they are common among people with contact lenses.
  • Viral: ulcers can form due to chickenpox and herpes. With recurrence due to stress, a poor immune system, or prolonged exposure to sunlight.
  • Mycotic / fungal: can also be caused by the inappropriate use of contact lenses and the use of steroid eye drops.
  • Parasitic: Microscopic unicellular amoebae, most common in fresh water and on land, can cause serious infection, especially if the person wears contact lenses.
  • Corneal abrasions or burns caused by an eye injury can lead to corneal ulcers.

The diagnosis is given when we use a special contrast known as fluorescein which will make the wound stand out on the cornea, through staining. In some cases, we may need to take a small tissue sample to send to a lab to identify the infection and treat it appropriately.

If the damage from the corneal ulcer is too great and affects the person’s vision, corneal transplant surgery is recommended.

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